Sports Surgeon

sports surgeon

What Is A Sports Surgeon?

A sports surgeon is a highly trained and skilled surgeon who has been trained and educated in sports medicine and has taken their training a step further to become a sports surgeon. Sports physicians deal with the day-to-day medicinal and physiotherapy requirements of a sportsperson or team but when it comes to the actual surgery to correct a serious injury or physiological problem then the sports surgeon takes over.

This is a highly specialized field of medicine that requires a formal medical education and then several years of additional education and training to become qualified in sports surgery – only the very best can become sports surgeons.

How Do You Become A Sports Surgeon?

If you’ve decided that you want a career in sports medicine early only in life then you can start working towards become a sports medicine specialist while you’re still in high school by maintaining a high GPA (Grade Point Average) – aim for 4.0 or higher. After that you’ll need to apply to a medical school or pursue a bachelors degree and then transfer to medical school from there. You’ll need to complete your full medical school education of approximately 4 years and of course pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) exam before you can practice medicine legally.

sports injuries

After that your next step is to spend the next 4 – 5 years of your life training as an orthopedic surgeon where you’ll gain the knowledge and practical experience in relation to the human musculoskeletal system that will serve you well in your time as a sports surgeon. It’s the accepted norm that you would take an exam administered by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) to become a fully certified orthopedic surgeon too.

The last step is complete your fellowship in sports medicine, ideally in a sports medicine college, which takes roughly 1 more year and after that you’re then qualified to work as a sports surgeon and put all of that knowledge and experience to work.

What Types of Injuries Does A Sports Surgeon Treat?

As the title implies sports surgeons obviously work on sports-related injuries. In the field of sports medicine the frontline team are the sports physicians and physiotherapists who can take care of the most obvious injuries and also help in the rehabilitation process after an injury occurs.

But when actual surgery is required a sports surgeon will need to be consulted before any further action is taken. Modern sports medicine relies on diagnosis first and surgery later and with the introduction of arthroscopic surgery (keyhole surgery) injuries that used to require major surgery can now be taken care of with a 1cm incision instead. Plus you have the bonus that the recovery periods are also far shorter because there’s less trauma to the joint and the surrounding soft tissue.

sport injury

The injuries that you, as a sports surgeon, will deal with are related to the musculoskeletal system and include bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon damage as a result of that.

Here’s a quick list of the most common injuries that a sport surgeon has to deal with:

* Anterior cruciate ligament injuries (ACL)

* Knee cartilage issues (meniscus)

* Shoulder and other joint dislocations

* Tendonitis

* Torn rotator cuff

* Bursitis

* Hamstring tears

* Plantar fasciitis

* Tennis Elbow

* Stress Fractures

* Shin splints

What Are the Salary Expectations For A Sports Surgeon?

As you would imagine, sports medical salaries are going to reflect the amount of work you’ve put into getting this far in your medical career.

Most sports surgeons will have completed somewhere between 8 and 10-years of academic and practical education as well as sitting several exams, undertaking a fellowship and several internships also. As a result of this an average sports physician can expect to earn $100,000+ per year whereas a sports surgeon’s salary will be in the region of between $170,000 and $300,000 per year depending on your employer. $300,000 per year is at the higher end of the earnings and salary scale of course.

broken leg

Is There Demand For Sports Surgeons?

You might imagine that there wouldn’t be a huge demand for sports surgeons in general but the reality is that athletes are now competing well into their later 30s and as the body ages more injuries are going to occur. Conversely modem sports injuries treatment methods mean that these same injuries now no longer mean that an athlete has to retire after even a serious injury and if you look at professional sports it’s not uncommon to see people competing into their late 30s and even their 40s in some cases.

As medical science advances and athletes continue to compete into their later years you can reasonably expect to see some professional athletes compete into their 50s in the not too distant future. The demand for the sports injury specialist and the sports surgeon is going to be more in demand than ever before – athletes and sports surgeons have a very symbiotic relationship in their own way.

Becoming a fully qualified sports surgeon means making some very large time commitments in your life but the reward of seeing athletes return to competition along with more than healthy salary options can make that time investment more than worthwhile. Plus if you’re a sports fan by nature this could basically be your dream job – especially if you wind up being hired as the sports surgeon for a national team for example.